When will they redeem lost prestige?
Rugby was one of the main sports in the upcountry, and it flourished
from 1880 until 1970s, mainly due to the influence of the planters. In
those good old days the Clifford Cup finals were played in Radella (Dimbula
A & CC), Darawella (Dickoya MCC) and Uva Gymkhana Club (Badulla).
The three planters clubs, Dickoya, Dimbulla and Uva Gymkana Club, at
one time were the top three rugby playing clubs in the country.
According to past records, rugby in the country, and those who took
the game seriously from the day it was born to 1972 were the planting
community. In 1908 when the Ceylon Rugby Football Union was formed,
there were only six clubs-Kandy Sports Club, Dimbulla A & CC, Dickoya
MCC, Uva Gymkhana Club, CH & FC and Kalutara Sports Club. During that
time, only Trinity and Kingswood were in the game, and two Ceylonese
teams, Kandy Rovers and Colombo Ceylonese.
The first ever club game to be played, was between two of the
Upcountry teams Dickoya MCC and Dimbulla ACC, that was on 7th of
September 1880, with Dickoya winning the game by 9 points to 3. This
scrum down was held at the Darawella grounds.
The winning Dickoya MCC team was packed with players like Metcalfe
(Capt), Courtis, Frees, Dove, Rowsell, Corrier, Graham, Haden, Messervy,
Ogilvy, Parsons, Power, Wetherall, Wilton, Richardson.
Dimbulla ACC - Fayers (Capt), Palliser, Tatham, Verelsh, Wright,
Boyd, Evans, Fitclarence, Gwatkinb, Hardie, Mcclintoch, Roper, Setton,
Tynet, C. Eright.
Dimbulla ACC was formed in 1856, and their sports were rugger,
cricket, squash, tennis, badminton and cue sport. They were a major
force in rugby and it was their popular sport. They gave their best from
the day they started playing rugby in 1880s to 1970s. Sports declined
after the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government took over the estates.
WON THE CLIFFORD CUP - In 1956 a combined Dim/Dicks team was second
to CR & FC in the Clifford Cup. Then in 1959 Dimbulla shared the cup
with CR & FC.
Another fine moment came in 1970 when under the leadership of
ever-green Ken Murray, Dimbulla emerged as the ‘A’ Division Clifford Cup
League Champions and they were deprived of the double by Abdul Majeed’s
Policemen, where they lost the Clifford Cup semifinals 0-6.
Finest ruggerites - Dimbulla were not only a major force in rugby,
but also produced some of the finest ruggerites in the country, players
like D.R. Macare, J. Bousfield, H, Warning, Miles Chritoffelsz, Larry
Schockman, S. Canagasabai, M. Parry, I. CoDonald, Mike de Alwis, S.
Unamboowe, Dharmasiri Madugalle, Owen Mottau, Jayantha Jayawardene,
Rohan Wijenayake, Clifford Elharth, Roger da Silva, Tommy Kelaart, P.
Amrasinghe, R,. Kulatunga, Tuan Dole, Iswan Omar, Lanil Tennakoon, Brian
Liversz, Brian and Cedrick Munweera, Trevo Nugawelna, Mohan Samarakoon
to name a few.
Dickoya MCC was formed in 1874, and their sporting activities were
rugger, cricket, tennis, squash, badminton and cue sports. They too were
once a major force in rugby. They were one of the top ‘A’ division rugby
clubs. In 1972 their standard declined and they were relegated to ‘B’
division, due to the take over of the estates.
The home of Dickoya – Darawella, this ground and the club house was
rated as the best in the country.
Dickoya too like Dimbulla, have produced great teams and players.
Thrice they entered the Clifford Cup finals and went down fighting to CR
& FC and Havelocks SC respectively in 1958 and 1961. In 1961 they lost
to Dr. Hurbert Aloysius’ Havelocks, in the dying moments of the game,
due to an off side. Havies got a penalty and goaled it to take the cup
back to Havelock Park.
The 1961 Dickoya Cup final team was packed with whites, and the four
Sri Lankan played in the cup final were T.B. Pilapitiya, Rohan
Wijenayake, B.I. Gunawardene and Uvais Odayar. Some of their past
players were Bary Cameron, Tony Johnson, Chris Bean, Uvais Odayar, David
Bretherton, Mohan ‘Baila’ Samarasinghe, D. Bretherton, Dharmasiri
Madugalle, Rohan Abeyasundara, C. Hanies, J.M.E. Warning, C.D. Gibson.
Most of the planters played for all three clubs, Dimbulla, Dickoya and
Uva, due to transfers from estate to estate.
Uva Gymkhana Club
Uva Gymkhana Club was founded in 1980 and played rugger, cricket,
tennis, hockey and badminton and also they conducted horse racing.
In 1952 Uva Gymkhana Club entered the Clifford Cup final, and became
the first club from UpCountry to enter the semis of the Clifford Cup. In
that final they lost to CR & FC by 19 points to nil. Some of their top
players were A.C.B. Horfall, C.D. Hearth, M.M. Clarke, J.T. Pettigrew,
F. Aldons, K. Ariarajah, D. Parkar, J. Howe, R.G. Bowie, J. Boyd Moss,
J. Garner, R.Gauder, S.B. Pilapitiya, A. Hamer, Lionel Almeida, Rayan
Howie, Ronnie Gunaratne, Lanil Tennakoon, Sarath Soysa, Uvais Odayar,
Nipa Pilimatalawa, .